Wednesday, 30 May 2007

LIFE AS A HYBRID....


A Hybrid? Whazzat?...you might ask.Well a hybrid is someone who'se parents belong to different religious or linguistic communitites or ethnicities. In our country, this might apply to people who come from different religions, castes and states as well. Mixed breed as many might jokingly say. There are quite a lot of hybrids in our nation of 1.2 billion, its just that not too many people are aware of it. In my opinion, I don't even think it should really be important to know this aspect of anyone's background. Anyways...what's an average Hybrid's life like? Read on to be enlightened.


What makes me a hybrid? Well, my dad is a Manglorean Catholic. My mom was a hybrid herself - her dad was a Nair, i.e a Keralite Brahmin, who served in the army. Naani was an Andhra army nurse. She was born a Protestant. So if you look at me, I have all of South India in my blood, except of course Tamil blood. Read through again if you've lost track(I always manage to confuse people with this interesting piece of info, hehe).


You'll also consider me lucky to be able to learn 3 diferent languages,viz Konkani, Telegu and Malayalam, right? Truth is I know none of the above languages. Now, now, it was'nt really my fault - me and my siblings were born in Kuwait, where my mom and dad worked, and where they met, married and conceived us. I studied there till the 3rd grade. Since our grandparents were back home in India, and we all lived in Kuwait, mom and dad conversed with each other in English and Hindi. So these were, and continue to be the only languages we converse in at home.


When we moved to India in 1990, we did get exposed to our mum's Telugu and Dad's Konkani, thanks to the relatives we got in touch with. But somehow we, atleast I, could'nt learn enough of those languages. So, although I can safely say that I can understand what's being said to me in Telugu and Konkani, I really can't reply in the same language. The only sentences I've managed to learn are "Konkani Ullonk Ye na makaa" and "Naaku Telugu Raadu" which translate into "I can't speak Konkani/Telugu." Smart move, aint it?. But thankfully, I won't feel lost if someone speaks to me in Telugu or Konkani.


Being born in Kuwait, we were naturally exposed to Arabic as a subject in school. I learnt Arabic in the 2nd and 3rd grade, which really was'nt much, coz all I remember from those days today is the first lesson we had, and the arabic numerals from 1 to 10. I still remember my first day at school in Mumbai in the 3rd grade, when our Marathi teacher Mrs.Dandekar asked me to stand up and read from the textbook, and all I did was wail loudly because Marathi was an alien language to me and I could'nt understand a word of what I was reading. My Marathi has improved over time, and today, although I might not be fluent in the language, I definitely can have a proper conversation. Can't say the same about Arabic though.


All said and done, I still look at being a hybrid as a blessing. Why? Being hybrid has shown me different colours and flavours of cultures, languages and religions. It has shown me how different they are, and yet how all of them serve a common purpose - to hold people together, as one group, as one family, as one unit and one force. It has shown me the real meaning of unity in diversity. The fact that we are a happy family inspite of the linguistic and community differences shows that love and bonds transcend boundaries. I have learnt to respect all religions. I've visited many places of worship. I've learnt to respect people's faiths and the fact that after all, we are all one. I've learnt to accept differences and have developed an interest in various religions and doctrines. Tried learning new languages. In doing so, I noticed that many of these differences are linked in some way or the other. Learnt how to read Gujarati (thanks to colleagues in office and also owing to its close proximity to the Hindi Devanagri script). Having made friends from different communities - Bengali, Marwadi, Sindhi, Punjabi. Kashmiri, etc, and being exposed to their cultures has taught me a lot. It's a learning experience, and the experience is inexhaustible.


The one real thing that I've learnt, and that encompasses everything I've learnt, is that we are all the same, its just the colour we are shaded in that is different, pretty much like the rainbow. This is what being of mixed parentage has imbibed in me. Hope to continue this tradition while starting my own family. :)

12 comments:

  1. Vipin Venugopal Nair1 June 2007 at 00:06

    nice thought buddy!

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  2. I so agree to whatever said...I remember in one of psychology text books , it said being bilingual is good for the children . I just wondering what I was..My grandparents (all 4) are from 4 different states.. Except one of my grandmother's mother tongue( tamil), I know the other 3 and then staying in a Gujrati populated area had its effect on me....I learnt french in college and went internation..

    So what am i ?? Polylingual??? I like that word :)

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  3. lol...all the best for ur family ;)

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  4. You know what your post reminds me off? This one time, in this community a similar thread on hybrids popped up. So it was started by a noob and she dint have a clue as to who I was. Talking advantage of that, I told her that I was a total hybrid as my dad was part German and part Chinese and mom part Sri lankan and part Mallu. The chick actually bought all the bull crap I was feeding her and was totally in awe of the international me. This story went on for a while, until one of my frenz chipped in that Ninitha is actually a nick name and that my original name is Ninja Chacko Chakramasinghe..ROFLMAO..Makes me crack up every time!! :)

    Back to your post. Yes, having different cultural roots help but you needn't necessarily have that to have an assimilation of all cultures in you. You just need to spend time with people to have that. I mean I grew up in Kerala amidst a bunch of non mallu friends which is perhaps the reason for my non typically mallu tastes. Later I did my college in Coimbatore which was a good 5 years and thats when the Tamilian aspect crept in and then I worked in Blore.

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  5. Now, Blore was a true cultural pot cause my office literally had India it. My Chairman was a British and my colleagues were an interesting mix. I has a part Chinese part Sindhi, a Delhite, a Bihari, a Kannadiga, an Assamese, a Tamilian, a Goan, an almost American and then interns coming from all over India. I dont think I have ever been as culturally conscious as I was then and it was awesome cause we all picked up traits from one another..celebrated all the festivals and generally I think we all became a lot culturally and lingually richer. So ya, I really dont think it has anything to do with being related, as in through blood.

    Whoa!! That one massive comment!!! :(

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  6. wah, i cant believe nin only dropped in yest. :P (wonders at ur parents man! lol @ the nick though)

    so criss, when you said something somewhere about being 1/3 or something i so guessed right *celebrates*

    hehe, anyway, you're adorable :)
    there are few people who think alike.. seriously.
    but then you're afterall you.

    being a hybrid, well, i am not. but i live in islamabad, the capital city where everyone from everywhere is living with so harmony Alhamdolilah, i love it :)

    and exactly, i have friends from many cultures, all of them are south-asian though, i prefer them, no geographic bais though, just that well, its natural. anyway, i know punjabi because i am living in punjab :P and thats it! no other language othat than eng/urdu! i want to learn persian though, may be arabic too and pure hindustani urdu, i adore it. everytime anyone speak it, i remember my favorite person, my grandmother. she passed away sometime back, and i miss her.. anyway!

    it is going somewhere else.. hehe! post something new :P

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  7. oh god, my comment was so incoherrent, i think i should sleep now :S !

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  8. @rashi - multilingual re [:P]

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  9. @nini - hehe .chakramsinghe does sound lankan like :P pity the poor noob.pray tell me who it was :P
    massive comment.loved it :d

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  10. @alaena - yea i beilieve we ought to take a lil bit from wherever we're staying, and not iolate oursleves in our own communities. thnx for the comment dear :)

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